Ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe, Zingiberacae) is a medicinal plant that has been widely used in Chinese, Ayurvedic and Tibb-Unani herbal medicines all over the world, since antiquity, for a wide array of unrelated ailments that include arthritis, rheumatism, sprains, muscular aches, pains, sore throats, cramps, constipation, indigestion, vomiting, hypertension, dementia, fever, infectious diseases and helminthiasis. Currently, there is a renewed interest in ginger, and several scientific investigations aimed at isolation and identification of active constituents of ginger, scientific verification of its pharmacological actions and of its constituents, and verification of the basis of the use of ginger in some of several diseases and conditions. This article aims at reviewing the most salient recent reports on these investigations. The main pharmacological actions of ginger and compounds isolated therefrom include immuno-modulatory, anti-tumorigenic, anti-inflammatory, anti-apoptotic, anti-hyperglycemic, anti-lipidemic and anti-emetic actions. Ginger is a strong anti-oxidant substance and may either mitigate or prevent generation of free radicals. It is considered a safe herbal medicine with only few and insignificant adverse/side effects. More studies are required in animals and humans on the kinetics of ginger and its constituents and on the effects of their consumption over a long period of time.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Food Science